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UFC Betting Trends For A Smaller Cage

Cody Garbrandt walks away after scoring a knockout at the UFC Apex Center

We are beginning to see a new normal in our daily lives and in sports as we start to move forward amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As sports return, we are seeing play without the roar of the crowds and there have been some interesting betting trends for the UFC for events without fans.

The promotion has recently started to hold events at its Apex Performance Center. This venue has a smaller Octagon than we are accustomed to and because of the smaller area, we have seen an uptick in finishes, which is good for your “fight not to go the distance” wagers.

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Why Use a Smaller Cage And What’s The Difference?

There have been seven events held at the Apex Center, which has a 25-foot cage compared to the 30-foot cage that is more regularly used. The venue is essentially a training center for the athletes and is used for Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series and The Ultimate Fighter, so the full-size cage isn’t exactly needed.

So what’s the big deal, you may ask?

UFC play-by-play man Jon Anik, the best in the business in my opinion, tweeted out that the 25-foot cage is 30.5 percent smaller than the larger cage.

Smaller Cage = More Action

The smaller Octagon doesn’t just benefit a striker, as you may assume. Sure, there is less room to move and if you’re not sharp on your footwork, you can quickly find yourself against the cage facing a barrage of strikes. That said, it also works for a grappler to be able to close the distance more effectively and get the fight to the floor, or push an opponent up against the cage to work toward a takedown.

There have been 75 fights over the seven events at the UFC Apex Center and in six events, we had equal or more finishes than decisions. To put that in perspective, only one other card all year had more knockouts and submissions than fights going to the judges’ scorecards. UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs Burns, the first event at this location, had four submission finishes, the second-most on a UFC card this year behind UFC on Fight Island 2: Figueiredo vs Benavidez 2, which had five submission wins.

Smaller Cage vs Larger Cage
Cage SizeFightsKnockoutsSubmissionsDecisionsFinish Percentage
25 Foot7522173652.0
30 Foot127*39166944.4

*Two fights for 30-foot cage had disqualifications, one fight was a no contest*

Favorites Continue To Cash

Not only are we seeing high-paced action in the smaller cage but it has been the betting favorites who are leading the dance. There have been 75 fights at the Apex Center, two of which had pick’em odds. So of the 73 bouts with a clear favorite and underdog, the favorite has won 49 times, good for 68.1 percent. In the 30-foot cage, faves have won 62 percent of the fights.

Smaller Cage vs Larger Cage
Cage SizeFightsFavorite WinUnderdog Win
25 Foot75*4923
30 Foot127**7546

*Two fights for 25-foot cage had pick’em odds* One fight ended in a draw.

**In the 30-foot cage, there was one fight with a no contest, two fights ending in a draw and three fights with pick’em odds**